Windows 8 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. It is the ninth major release in the Windows NT operating system line, replacing Windows 7 and being later replaced by Windows 8.1. It reached RTM on 1 August 2012 and was released to general availability on 26 October 2012. Windows 8 was one of the most short-lived releases, and its support ended on 12 January 2016, as extended support was in favor of Windows 8.1.
This is the first version of Windows to drop support for processors without PAE, SSE2 and NX, as running on these processors will display a black screen with error code 0x5D.
- 1 Editions
- 2 Main changes
- 3 Timebomb
- 4 List of known builds
It comes in four main editions: Core, RT, Pro, and Enterprise. All other editions are variations of those editions.
- Windows 8 (Core) is the most basic edition, intended for the average home user.
- Windows RT (CoreARM) is Core for the ARM architecture. It can only launch Windows Store apps and signed Microsoft desktop applications, but apart from the addition of device encryption, it has the same feature set as its base edition.
- Windows 8 Single Language (CoreSingleLanguage) is Core without the ability to install language packs.
- Windows 8 China (CoreCountrySpecific), as the name implies is intended for mainland China market. It only allows the Simplified Chinese language pack to be installed.
- Windows 8 Pro is meant for the enthusiast and business markets, and most notably supports running Hyper-V virtual machines, receiving RDP connections, and BitLocker.
- Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is exactly what the name implies. It can be upgraded to from Core and Pro with Windows Anytime Upgrade.
- Windows 8 Enterprise is designed for large organizations and can only be activated with a KMS server or MAK keys. It has the same feature set as Pro but additionally allows creating Windows to Go portable workspaces. It doesn't have Windows Media Center and it cannot be added with any officially sanctioned methods.
Windows 8 was largely designed for use on touchscreen devices such as tablets, and this can be seen all across the OS, with includes bigger buttons, more distinct colors, and a more modern interface with the removal of Aero transparency on open windows. The taskbar is still transparent, even though it doesn't blur anything behind it anymore. The renewal of the classic Windows shell was accompanied by the addition of the Metro interface, which includes a new Start menu (named Start screen), with a full-screen UI replacing the smaller Start menu first introduced in Windows 95. From the Start screen, Metro apps can be launched, which can take the entire screen, providing an immersive interface, or be snapped to a side of the screen alongside another application or the desktop. The File Explorer also got a renewal, with the introduction of the Ribbon UI first seen in Windows 7. The Up button, which was removed since Windows Longhorn build 3670 (except for builds 3790.1232, 5000 and 5001), has been readded and the details pane is now vertical.
The Metro UI is directly integrated with the desktop, which features hot corners: positioning the mouse in certain parts of the screen will reveal new functionality. The right side features the Charms Bar, a vertical bar that includes Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings as buttons. Right-clicking on the bottom left corner of the screen opens the Quick Link menu, which contains shortcuts to frequently used areas.
Windows 8 was the first Windows operating system ever since Windows NT 3.51 to have no Start button. Although the last build of Windows 8 to have the Start button by default was 8176, it is possible to remove the Start button from the taskbar, on builds 7899 to 7997. To accomplish this, you need to make a new DWORD in
YouBettaHideYoPearl, with its value set to 1. After doing so, log off and log back in. If done correctly, the Start button should be removed.
Desktop Window Manager now renders using a software-based 3D rasterizer when such an accelerator is unavailable. Additionally, the Windows Classic and Windows Basic themes have been removed. Although the visual styles still exist, but it cannot be enabled by default.
Progress windows have been modified to remove the animation on the top and make it possible to view "more details", including a graph for tracking transfer speeds. It is also possible to pause file transfer operations.
Notifications have been updated to be more noticeable, as they appear on the right of the screen and are the same color as the current theme.
The Task Manager now opens up in a simple view which only displays a list of open programs and not processes. Expanding the view reveals a modernized and improved version of the classic Task Manager, featuring tabs and a bigger focus on memory usage.
Windows Store allows the consumer to distribute and download Metro apps or advertise desktop software. The Windows Store would later be redesigned in Windows 8.1. The Store was called "MSHelp" in builds before 8032. The Windows Store would later be rebranded as the Microsoft Store in September 2017 as an update for Windows 10.
Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Media Center is not included by default in any Windows 8 edition. Customers with existing Windows 8 users can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which includes Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. Customers with existing Windows 8 Pro licenses can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which was free previously under a promotional offer (until January 31, 2013).
Display language support
Microsoft offered 109 display languages in Windows 8, 14 more than Windows 7, including:
- English (United Kingdom)
- Punjabi (Pakistan)
- Sindhi (Pakistan)
- Central Kurdish (Iraq)
- Uyghur (People's Republic of China)
- Belarusian (Belarus)
- Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)
- Tigrinya (Ethiopia)
- Tajik (Tajikistan)
- Wolof (Senegal)
- K'iche' (Guatemala)
- Scottish Gaelic (United Kingdom)
- Cherokee (United States)
- Valencian (Spain)
Windows 8 beta builds include a timebomb which triggers after about 180 days (although this does fluctuate between builds) from the build's official compile date (see the build's information page for the compile and timebomb activation dates).
However, some beta builds contain a broken timebomb. This means that they can be installed on the current date, without triggering the timebomb. Some of these builds include build 7850 through 8432 (fbl loc). However, installing these builds on the current date prevents the user from changing the desktop wallpaper without a third-party tool such as DeskImg.
List of known builds
Milestone 3 / pre-Developer Preview
post-Developer Preview / pre-Consumer Preview
post-Consumer Preview / pre-Release Preview